Monday, November 21, 2011

Collecting Packing Houses

And for those of you who wonder how I'm finding and remembering all these details about the different packing houses of San Jose, check out my list of all the fruit-related businesses in San Jose and nearby. I've been keeping up this document for the last several months. I've been most interested in keeping track of locations - which businesses were at which locations (and thus where they were on the railroad), but it's been interesting to see just how incestuous the various businesses were as salesmen jumped off to form their own packing houses, packers occupied the spaces of defunct businesses, and 1940's and 1950's mergers combined the packing houses like playing cards.

If I was more of a game player, I'd be so tempted to make a collectible card game based on the dried fruit industry. If you've got a salesman and contract card, you trump the grower, unless the grower has a "bad weather - small harvest" card. Packers generally win against the growers unless they all team up, or someone has a "form fruit pool" or "co-operative!" card. And woe be on everyone if someone plays the "speculators accidentally short the market" card and everyone from a broker card has to rush to buy as many prunes as possible.

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